Bee Shrimp – Caridina cantonensissp. “Bee”
Species name: Caridina cantonensis sp. “Bee”
Common names: Bee Shrimp, Black Bee or Crystal Black Shrimp
Maximum length: Up to 1.2″ (3 cm)
Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
Distribution: Southeast Asia
Native to Southeast Asia, the bee shrimp is also a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists. Many hobbyists are familiar with the strikingly beautiful crystal red shrimp, but many of those crystal red enthusiasts may not realize that the bee shrimp is actually the same species. The striking color that gives the crystal red shrimp its name is a product of selective breeding, much the same way hobbyists have created so many color variations in platties, guppies and other common aquarium fish.
The bee shrimp is a popular choice on its own, apart form the popularity of the crystal red variety. Although it is not a good shrimp for the beginner, the bee shrimp can be a rewarding choice for the experienced aquarium enthusiast. Bee shrimps are happiest in water that is between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and they prefer a soft water environment with a slightly acidic pH level. As is the case with other varieties of dwarf shrimp, the bee shrimp should only be introduced to a well established aquarium with good water quality. As with all varieties of dwarf shrimp it is important to avoid the use of any medications that contain copper. Copper is very toxic to bee shrimps, and even a small amount of a copper containing medication could wipe out the entire colony.
Bee shrimps can be fed the same diet that other dwarf shrimp species enjoy. These popular shrimps are omnivores, and they will do well on a commercial diet designed for shrimp and other invertebrates. In addition to their commercial diet bee shrimp will happily feast on accumulated algae in the tank, and many hobbyists will acquire a colony of these creatures to deal with an algae problem. A happy and healthy bee shrimp will also roam the bottom of the aquarium on a regular basis looking for tidbits of food that have been overlooked by the other residents of the tank. Their ability to keep the tank clean makes the bee shrimp an excellent choice for the experienced aquarium hobbyist.
The fact that these shrimps are not aggressive toward other fish also makes them an excellent choice, especially for well planted and well established community tanks. The bee shrimp is active during much of the day, making it a fascinated addition to just about any tank. The only exception is a breeding tank – bee shrimps will eagerly gobble up newly hatched fry, so baby fish should not be introduced to a tank containing these invertebrates until they are at least one inch in length.
When cared for properly bee shrimp are a fairly easy species to breed, even though it can be pretty difficult to determine sex. The best approach is to purchase a large colony of these shrimp and hope for a good mixture of males and females. When full grown the male does have a slightly thinner tail, but it can take a trained eye to detect this subtle difference.
Experienced hobbyists who are looking for a good overall cleaner for their tanks may want to consider adding a colony of bee shrimps to their communities. Like the more colorful crystal red shrimp, bee shrimps are always crawling over the tank in search of food and algae. Their inquisitive and non-aggressive nature makes this shrimp an excellent choice for just about any community aquarium.
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